Shortly after Think Out Loud launched last January, EthanPDX posted on our site to suggest that we discuss disaster preparedness on the show. This was shortly after Vernonia and other communities in the Pacific Northwest were flooded during what is now called The Great Coastal Gale of 2007. Just last month, LauraT suggested a similar disaster-related show.
The thing about disaster recovery is that it goes on long after the storm has passed. So this week, as we mark the one year anniversary of the storm that destroyed homes and a school in Vernonia, we’ll be taking EthanPDX and LauraT up on their suggestion. Some Vernonia homes have been rebuilt, while others had to be demolished along with the school. It’s been rough for many residents who say they never expected the damage to be so severe.
What can the rest of the state learn from Vernonia’s experience? How prepared are Oregonians for natural disasters such as fire, flood, earthquakes or tsunamis? What steps have you taken to ensure you and your family could withstand this kind of cataclysm?
We said on the air we’d put links up to training for people interested in becoming community responders in an emergency. Here are two: Community Emergency Response Teams, a nationally available training program funded by FEMA, and Portland’s Neighborhood Emergency Teams.
- George Guyett: Vernonia resident and delivery driver for Alpenrose Dairy
- Tony Hyde: Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners for Columbia County and former mayor of Vernonia
- Major Mike Braibish: State public affairs officer for the State Military Department
- Bill Sullivan: Author of Oregon’s Greatest Natural Disasters and many other books about Oregon